Cape Town - Bad news just got worse for lock Lood de Jager and Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus.
According to the supersport.com website, De Jager was originally expected to be sidelined for a period of four months having torn a pectoral muscle in the Bulls' recent Super Rugby clash against the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
Following rehabilitation, De Jager was due to return to the field for the second half of the Boks' Rugby Championship campaign.
However, a second scan on Wednesday once the swelling had subsided revealedthe tear in his chest wall muscle to be worse than feared.
As a result, the 25-year-old will go under the knife on Thursday and will be out of action for six months, ruling him out of the Boks' end of year tour to Europe, the first match of which will take place on November 2 against England at Twickenham.
The news will no doubt give Erasmus more grey hairs as it follows the confirmation that first-choice hooker Malcolm Marx will also miss the upcoming three-Test series against England in June.
In addition, Erasmus will be without flank Jaco Kriel, while major injury clouds hang over No 8 Warren Whiteley and lock Eben Etzebeth, among others.